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Jul28

Narco Hotel pre-order is live!

After three years of writing and research, The Silver Ninja: Narco Hotel pre-order is finally live.

(Apologies for any typos, I had to rush to get this out and couldn’t fully proofread it.)

Pre-order Narco Hotel for $4.99 at the Amazon Kindle store. Release date August 26th, 2022.

Narco Hotel Pre-Order link at Amazon

Narco Hotel digital cover

“Okay . . .,” you say. “But what’s your book about?”

Whew, loaded question. By the way, no author likes that question. All authors rehearse what they’re going to tell you months before you even think to ask. Or at least they try to. We’re excited to talk about it, we just don’t know when to shut up.

Narco Hotel asks, “What if the Mexican Drug Cartels turned New York City into a warzone? And what happens when the hero who’s supposed to save us doesn’t want to be a hero anymore?”

This may sound like a typical superhero vs. criminal organization story but there are some key differences which makes it unique to my perspective and style.

#1 In Narco Hotel, the violence has consequences

In this story, the hero (or heroine in this case) doesn’t just beat up criminals and go home. Each person Cindy hurts or kills leads to another sleepless night of bad nightmares. You won’t find Batman or Punisher dwelling on the criminals they’ve beaten or killed (I know Batman doesn’t kill, or isn’t supposed to kill in most stories). To them, they’re getting rid of vermin. To Cindy, she’s hurting another human being and she internalizes that conflict in unhealthy ways. Ways you’d have to read the book to find out.

Although Narco Hotel doesn’t glorify violence, my beta readers have told me the action scenes are very fun to read.

#2 I show how cartels recruit members without violence

I did an extensive amount of research studying cartel operations and watching interviews from men who used to work for them. I’ve listened to interviews by cartel journalist Ioan Grillo and read books documenting how different cartels operate from all over the world. Some organizations focus on community protection while others focus on pretending to be legitimate businesses, through illicit means.

The cartels aren’t stupid. They can be superstitious, zealous, and arrogant, but they aren’t dumb. They know people don’t want to work for them. But they also know desperate people will sign up for anything to put food on their plate. They sweet talk them with a job so simple, so innocent, hardly anyone would turn it down. “I’ll pay you fifty dollars to keep an eye out for cops. You see someone, you come tell me.”

That’s it. They don’t have to shoot and they don’t have to rob. All they have to do is keep an eye out. What person, dying of starvation, would say no to that?

And that’s how it starts. They ask them to come by if they want more work. And when the impoverished person can’t scrounge up enough cash for his next meal or can’t provide shelter for his family, what’s he going to do? Ask the cartel for more work.

In Narco Hotel I go into extensive detail on how this recruitment process works so that you can see how the war on crime is not black and white. It’s always a shade of silver. See what I did there? Hur, hur.

#3 Cindy is fully aware of her white privilege and it gives her a crisis of conscience

When Batman or Punisher (two white guys) beat up on black criminals, do you think they consider what that symbolizes? No, of course not. One of the things these superhero stories often overlook is the symbolism behind their actions.

Rich, white, billionaire kid with mental issues beats up impoverished criminals.

White, ex-military soldier takes out his anger issues on criminals by shooting them dead.

No one sees the problem here? Cindy does. This fact alone makes her different from every single hero in existence. She’s the only one who seems to be aware of what her skin color means and what her actions represent.

Yeah, Narco Hotel is going there, it has to. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why it took me so long to finish the book. I couldn’t have Cindy fight a Mexican cartel and ignore the fact that she is a white woman. No matter how hard I tried, the issue of race kept popping up over and over again.

It wasn’t until I wrote this quote in the fall of 2019 that I knew something was wrong:

Imagine a scenario where extraterrestrial life exists out in that wide expansive universe. Imagine if these aliens learned how to behave by copying us. What do you think they would do once they finally visited Earth? If they treat us the way, we treat our minorities and immigrants . . . I fear humanity may find itself crushed underneath someone’s foot.” – Mohammad Hasan, Chief of the Department of the New York City Police Department.

On May 5th, 2020, George Floyd happened.

Was it a strange coincidence that I wrote a line of dialogue mirroring modern events?

Or was this a nagging truth lurking in the back of my head?

I had no interest in writing about racism. My books are supposed to be about exciting action sequences and fighting outrageous villains, racism had no place. But the theme kept coming back.

As a Latino author who has grown up around white people and minorities, I’ve seen both sides of the coin.

I’ve seen racism in all its disgusting and deceptive forms. I learned how to roll with the punches and win people over by being well-spoken and charismatic. It’s rare for me to encounter bigots nowadays but I know they’re out there.

Even Cindy, a strong woman, is a victim of misogyny. When male criminals see her for the first time, they are quick to shoo her away and disregard her as a person of little worth.

These experiences, as uncomfortable as they are, felt important to include in the book. It didn’t make sense to me at first. Yet, the more I wrote, the more I realized this was not a story about racism as an action. It’s a story about how racism still influences everyone’s lives in both overt and covert ways.

Cindy has a Latino husband. Therefore, she would be a hypocrite if she beat on minorities without thinking of the consequences.

You won’t find those kinds of themes in a Punisher book.

Was that enough of a sales pitch for Narco Hotel?

If it was, here’s the pre-order link again for Narco Hotel on Amazon Kindle.

Release date: August 26th, 2022.

Narco Hotel Pre-Order link at Amazon

Narco Hotel digital cover

https://www.thesilverninja.com/2020/01/31/a-ninja-vs-a-mexican-drug-cartel/

https://www.thesilverninja.com/2021/01/28/2021-update-on-the-progress-of-narco-hotel/

Wilmar Luna

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